Gareth Anscombe kicked a crucial drop-goal and the winning penalty as Cardiff Blues pipped the Dragons 11-9 in Thursday’s Pro12 Welsh derby.
Cory Allen got the only try of the game as the Blues edged a close contest at Rodney Parade
In what was a scrappy opening, it was Allen who got the only try following good work from Anscombe, whilst Tom Prydie got the Dragons only points in the opening 40 with a penalty, as the visitors took a 5-3 lead into the break.
But the second half had much more to offer, and following a drop goal from Anscombe, Prydie fired two further penalties in to put his side on the brink of victory.
But Anscombe’s late penalty sealed a hard-fought contest, as the Blues took the points from Rodney Parade.
Prydie gave the Newport side an early lead as he opened the scoring after just three minutes.
That lead was almost taken away when Anscombe kicked a penalty towards the posts, but it sailed narrowly wide much to the joy of the home crowd. However the home side did fall behind on 19 minutes thanks to a try from Allen. Following a long build up play that saw the visitors go through phase after phase, Anscombe managed to feed a pass towards Allen and he was able to go over down the left for his second try of the season.
Anscombe again missed his chance as he fired across the posts, and that is where the scoring ended for the opening period.
The Dragons edged a half of few talking points, with the game failing to really take off due to misplaced kicks and a steady stream of penalties.
Luckily the second half was more of a spectacle however, as the two Welsh sides pushed for victory. Anscombe extended his side’s lead with a pin point drop goal, though his side held a penalty at the time with three points all but confirmed.
The Dragons did pull themselves back into the tie as the half wore on though, and Prydie kicked his side’s second penalty of the afternoon to reduce the deficit.
The hosts thought they had their first try of the game after 50 minutes, and were left feeling hard done by after it was ruled out. Matthew Pewtner went through bodies to go over, however referee Ian Davies adjudged a teammate had obstructed Blues’ Jarrad Hoeata’s challenge, and the score was wiped off.
The lead did come their way though moments later, once again thanks to the boot of Prydie, his third penalty ensuring a 100 percent record for 2015.
But that was as good as it got for the Dragons, who found themselves trailing again when Anscombe kicked through another penalty with 13 minutes to go.
The Blues pressed for a further try to seal the points, but were met by a resilient Dragons backline who were looking for their fifth win on the bounce.
Newport searched for a way back into the game, and threw everything at Cardiff, but found themselves unable to gain any further points, held up 5m from the try line in their last attack, as the Blues started the new year with victory over their Welsh rivals.
Pens: Prydie 3
For Cardiff Blues:
Dragons: 15 Tom Prydie, 14 Matthew Pewtner, 13 Tyler Morgan, 12 Jack Dixon, 11 Hallam Amos, 10 Jason Tovey, 9 Richie Rees, 8 Taulupe Faletau. 7 Nic Cudd, 6 James Thomas, 5 Rynard Landman (c), 4 Andrew Coombs, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Elliot Dee, 1 Phil Price.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Gustafson, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Dan Way, 19 Cory Hill, 20 Andy Powell, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 Dorian Jones, 23 Geraint Rhys Jones.
Cardiff Blues: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Richard Smith, 13 Cory Allen, 12 Gavin Evans, 11 Lucas Amorosino, 10 Gareth Anscombe, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Josh Navidi, 7 Sam Warburton, 6 Josh Turnbull, 5 Filo Paulo, 4 Jarrad Hoeata, 3 Taufa’ao Filise, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Gethin Jenkins (c).
Replacements: 16 Matthew Rees, 17 Sam Hobbs, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Macauley Cook, 20 Manoa Vosawai, 21 Lewis Jones, 22 Gareth Davies, 23 Adam Thomas.
Venue: Rodney Parade
Referee: Ian Davies (Wales)
Assistant Referees: Sean Brickell (Wales) and Simon Rees (Wales)
TMO: Derek Bevan (Wales)